Taking care of livestock is not devoid of challenges. One needs to be very careful about what to feed the livestock, how to maintain an ambient environment, and the practices to be followed for optimal growth of farm animals and birds.
Whether one is in the business of breeding and rearing chicken or is pursuing the same merely as a hobby, the food determines the health and well-being of the chicken.
In the olden days, chickens used to survive on kitchen scraps and husks. But now, innovative new technology has revolutionized the chicken feed market. Live feed such as black soldier fly larvae for chickens have gained popularity.
Chicken feed is made by manufacturers after a lot of research and brainstorming. The fundamental requirements of the chicken are kept in mind while formulating the same.
After all, it determines the health and egg production in your chicken. In this article, we shall discuss the qualities that one should be looking for while purchasing chicken feed.
- Purpose of keeping chicken:
Different people keep chicken for different purposes. The purpose of rearing the chicken shall determine the kind of feed that is to be provided to your livestock. Depending upon the purpose, the feed type has been discussed below:
- Laying eggs: specialized laying feed should be given to these chickens. This kind of feed contains an ample amount of vitamin D and calcium. This ensures well-formed, relatively hard eggshells.
- Ornamental chicken: If you are rearing chicken for ornamental purposes, then it shall be prudent to provide the chickens with feed that contains natural pigments. This will ensure that the distinct characteristics of the bird develop to the fullest extent.
- Broiler chicken: These chickens require feed that is high in protein content. Nowadays, one can find a chicken feed that is customized specifically for white or yellow eggs.
The ingredients in the chicken feed should ideally contain all the necessary micronutrients. Research has shown that all birds require these nutrients to some extent. Some of these ingredients are:
- Amino Acids
- Vitamins D3, B12, A, and E
In addition to these, the feed should also contain additives such as Omega 3, and a good amount of fiber. It is advisable to always check the product label to ensure that the feed you purchase contains these essential nutrients.
- The age of the chickens:
The number of fats, vitamins, and proteins should be well suited to the age of the bird. If the chickens are in the growth period, then one should feed them a protein-rich diet for better development of muscles and flesh.
Small chicks also require a high protein diet for good and all-around development. Once the chickens are matured, the protein content can be gradually reduced from the 18th week onwards. The hens that lay the eggs should be given a calcium-rich diet.
- The kind of feed for your chickens:
These days chicken feed is available in a wide variety of options. The texture of the feed also determines how easily it is ingested by the birds.
Crumbs: This sort of feed is mainly given to small chicks and ornamental chickens. Chicks are usually fed finely milled seeds and grains. Ornamental chicken is usually given pressed seeds or grains. This meal contains materials that are slowly digested, thus keeping the birds occupied.
Pellet: Chickens can sometimes tend to be picky eaters, eating what they like and leaving out the rest. Pellet ensures that all nutrients are absorbed evenly since the birds cannot eat selectively. Thus wastage is reduced to a great extent.
Depending upon the requirement, one should choose the chicken feed. It shall be prudent to first observe and determine the characteristics of the chicken that you have. Only then you shall be able to make an informed decision about the chicken feed to be given to the dry feed or fly larvae for chickens.